Cars with a Personality ($15k- $20k Budget)

Hi all,

I've had some pretty boring NPC cars lately. Currently have a VW Golf GTI (07) and my last car was a Honda Accord Euro Sport, both very reliable and popular cars. My last car before then was a few years ago which was an Integra Type R (DC2) and I've been thinking lately I'm missing a car with a sense of personality and individuality. I'd like to get something again so looking at collecting a list of cars I'd like to look for.

I was looking for a Mini Cooper S but the prices have gone up on the older ones so don't think they're worth it as much.

I'm thinking small odd 4WD's from the 90s like a Suzuki Sierra or a Mitsubishi 2dr Pajero.

What would you get, retro or otherwise that's reliable enough to get around but a bit of a headturner?

:)

Comments

  • +21

    boring NPC cars lately.

    REEEE?

    • +2

      Can't beat a used Volvo if what ya want is personality.

  • +14

    Suzuki X-90

    /thread

    • +4

      Will turn heads by turning itself on its head, noice call

    • +7

      There’s a dude in my neighbourhood that drives around with a modded out x-90 with lift kit. Shit is wild.

    • +2

      Depends what "personality" means.. with X-90 it must mean personality of someones grandfather from Revenge of the Nerds

    • God, this is strange!

      Will turn heads that's for sure.

  • +17

    All SUVs are junk and 90% of people are driving around in them these days, so anything that's not an SUV should suit you.

    • +33

      I already have a ms paint for this comment: https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/311362/91775/untitled....

    • +5

      That's what I thought too but SUV are great, got the enough hight, perfect when you got kids, don't need to bend over and break your back when locking and unlocking an annoying kid.

      90% people are driving around for very good reason. Oh yeah, they aren't for off reading.

      • +5

        I really hope you don't do any off "reading" while behind the wheel of your SUV.

    • +11

      SUV's scream boring, soulless, rich, middle class consumer capitalist (that's about 90% of the Australian population unfortunately).

      • God bless the G-Wagon.

        What would the Toyota Camry scream?

      • +4

        SUV's Owning a car screams boring, soulless, rich, middle class consumer capitalist (that's about 90% of the Australian western population unfortunately).

        Let’s not get too righteous.

      • +2

        Nothing wrong with an SUV. Serves a purpose. Can't do many things with my sedan that I could with an SUV. It's practical, if typically boring. Well not the Model Y tho. That's my kinda thing - chock full of tech. That I'd buy, if I could afford it.

        • +10

          How many things can they do that a wagon can't do though? Such a shame that so many wagons died off in the rise of SUV's

          • +2

            @whitelie: Never took to wagons myself. Proportions are just… odd. Well to me any anyway. Too stretched 😁.

            But yeah. They were all the rage back in the day.

          • +4

            @whitelie: Subaru and Skoda keeping the dream alive!

            • +1

              @jrowls: Don't forget Volvo/Mercedes!

            • +1

              @jrowls: Love my skoda octavia wagon. I saw a brand new just-landed 2021 VRS Octavia wagon last week, looks so good, I want to upgrade.

            • @jrowls: Audi baby!

              • @havok44: Sure but normal people can't afford them ;)

          • +1

            @whitelie: I can't put a baby/toddler into the back seat of a wagon without hurting my back.

            The increased height of an SUV makes this a much easier task.

            Horses for courses - everyone has a different need. Just because you don't see value in something doesn't mean everyone else has the same view.

            • @CrushJelly: I mean yeah this is a thing, but I think for the vast majority of young parents 'back pain' will likely not be the number one consideration when buying a car.

              I don't have kids but I would prefer to have a car I liked driving than be annoyed when I put my kid in. But I wouldn't live somewhere that I had to put my kid in the car every day to go somewhere I guess.

              • @jrowls:

                I don't have kids

                You really can't pass judgement until you do. Then we can discuss whether the 20-30 seconds or so it takes to buckle a screaming toddler does/does not do your back in.

                Even if it is only a couple of times a week.

                But I wouldn't live somewhere that I had to put my kid in the car every day to go somewhere I guess.

                Again, not to come off as rude, but this is a slightly ignorant comment. It's not about going to places on the weekend or even shopping at the mall.
                It's about the daily daycare drop off, or school duties. Unless you live a few mins walk from daycare and school, then you do have to consider that putting a child into a car is a very regular thing.

                vast majority of young parents 'back pain' will likely not be the number one

                Agree. But as I said, horses for courses.
                I have a fracture in my spine, so my back pain is exaggerated, but it still is a consideration for most young parents.

                Until you are in the situation yourself, it's really hard to step into their shoes. Parenting is a whole different league.

                • @CrushJelly:

                  It's about the daily daycare drop off, or school duties. Unless you live a few mins walk from daycare and school, then you do have to consider that putting a child into a car is a very regular thing.

                  That was my entire point re the last comment, if I had a kid I would make sure that I did live somewhere that that was the case.

                  But yes I take your point - I don't know, hence I caveated the comments with the fact that I don't have kids :)

                  • @jrowls:

                    I would make sure that I did live somewhere that that was the case

                    That is actually a LOT harder than you might think. Not something I would expect anyone to really understand before they come to that point in time, but there are hundreds of variables to consider and it really is quite impossible to get to an absolute ideal… at least in terms of a daycare and school that is literally within walking distance.

                    Literally hundreds of variables. Would love to expand but it'd honetly take too long. But if you have friends that are parents of young kids, maybe have a conversation with them because it is quite eye opening.

                    You seem to have an open mind - which is good. Take care :)

                    • @CrushJelly: Cheers dude - yeah look I'm not saying it's easy, but as an urban planner and avid commute-hater, location would be my number one priority. Parents in this country have a mega aversion to raising kids in apartments that I wouldn't necessarily have, so that would solve half the problem. But yes, I of course understand there's much I do not know about the whole kids equation haha.

            • @CrushJelly: I completely understand your point but it's 100% the opposite for me. A wagon/sedan is a much easier proposition compared to the ride height of the SUV's and dual cab utes that we've had. Especially when you've got a second or third one to wrangle or put in the middle.

        • why compare it to a sedan instead of a hatchback? basically a mini SUV as long as you dont need it for off roading (which most people dont)

      • what else would you like them to be? working class communists, lower class hippies?. not everyone is into cars out of passion and happy with practical and boring

  • +7

    'm thinking small odd 4WD's from the 90s like a Suzuki Sierra

    How about a Suzuki Mighty Boy instead? Sure to get a second look these days.

    • +2

      Lada Niva

      The Lada Niva Legend, formerly called the Lada Niva, VAZ-2121, and Lada 4×4 (Russian: Лада Нива), is a series of exclusively 4WD, small (hatchback) and compact (wagon and pickup) off-road cars, designed and produced by the Russian (former Soviet) manufacturer AvtoVAZ since 1977 – initially for the rural market

      • This is a great suggestion. Kinda exactly what I'm thinking.

        • +2

          If you're looking for fun, why not get a $1,000 car, fix it up as you please, then enter www.shitboxrally.com.au

          • +1

            @Hybroid: The Lada would be a standout for the shitbox rally!

        • +1

          According to carwow, Niva failed ancap test even in russia.

        • wow in the late 90s you couldnt pay someone to get rid of these for you (in europe at least) i dont know if you'd find the parts easily in Aus, they also drink as much as a Russian sailor and not that comfortable

      • +3

        Oh man - I had one of these when I first got my licence.
        It was in the mechanic's about as much as it was on the road.

        • i just bought parts and swapped them out

      • "You there, fill it up with petroleum distillate and re-vulcanize my tyres, post-haste!"

    • Great suggestion, but near impossible to find a decent original specimen

    • +1

      Just need to drop a 6L V8 rear wheel drive conversion in and you'll be all set, so long as you hold stock in tyre manufacturers.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbDHWop2zI0

      I actually just saw a stock unrestored mighty boy driving around Perth today, haven't for a while.

  • +10

    Have a look at the Abarth 595, if your budget stretches that far. Guaranteed to turn heads, and fun as hell to drive. It's not practical and has a tiny boot, but it's all about the fun.
    [edit] OK I just re-read your post, so that's way beyond your budget.

    I own the regular FIAT 500C TwinAir model so it's far less powerful (it has a tiny 0.9L turbo engine!), but it's been a blast for the last 8 years. Mine has been very reliable and I haven't had any problems, but it can be a bit of a lottery.

    • +1

      Can confirm the Abarth is insanely fun!

      They really got that little beast right.

    • +1

      Abarth has heaps of personality, it's a real head turner especially when it backfires, it sounds like little farts.

  • Citroen C4 Cactus, Abarth 500, Peugeot 308 T9, Volvo C30 or Alfa Giulietta would be my picks. All great cars and great value (not so much in COVID, but still decent relatively speaking).

    • +1

      Alfa Giulietta - that gearbox though…..

      • +3

        get it on a manual gear box… solved

        • I actually think that Alfas are fun and affordable option. However you need to be careful picking one as they can be temperamental.
          Have a look at a 147 GTA

  • +9
  • +1

    https://www.google.com/search?q=1976+fj40+land+cruiser&oq=19...

    an old MG and restore it yourself … plenty of options … one of those 3 wheeled french cars

    • +1

      I don't think you could find a 70s Land Cruiser for under $20k right? I reckon they'd go in a heartbeat.

  • +1

    Sierras pretty much never have air con or power steering. The ones that do have power steering are usually modified and as such need a mod-plate to be legal.

    Jimny’s are much better cars if you’re spending most of your time on the blacktop and still more capable off road than most bigger vehicles.

    I’d suggest the SWB Pajero for overall drivability, air con, power steering, and still very capable offroad.

    • +1

      Thanks! I don't know much about 4WD's at all. I love the new Jimnys but I couldn't justify the price.

      • Even the 90's Jimny's are expensive due to them being well regarded 4WD cars.

    • I have been told current Jimny models that RRP for $29k (tbh, not good value for money, but I guess maximum utility for the buyer) are going up to $45k second hand.

  • +6

    Herbie.

  • +3

    None of those are remotely headturners. Mini Cooper s also rides like absolute crap.

  • +7

    headturner for $15K, pocket massager pink Mitsubishi "sex spec" Lancer.

    • Paid 15k for my yellow Mitsubishi lancer evolution 5, definitely still turns heads

      Was 12 years ago though

      • Would be worth twice that now easy!

        Loved the 4, its so pitbull of JDM turbos cars

  • +6

    bit of a headturner?

    Daihatsu Copen is what you want.

    • +3

      As approved and driven by Kel Knight of Kath & Kim fame

    • +1

      I used to love the Cappuccinos but you can't find them at all.

      • its because if they are in an accident they are a cardbox box, so crumble and are written off.

  • "small odd 4WD's from the 90s"
    not real odd, but a Brumby. small and 90s at least
    .

  • Lada Niva
    .

    • +1

      The old one, not the new one right?

      • Nothing has changed since the 70s

    • Just remember to put it into H.

  • +1

    I've been thinking lately I'm missing a car with a sense of personality and individuality.

    Since you don't specify what kind of personality, here's something that will turn heads (not sure if it's the kind of attention you want though!) - less than your price range too!

    • I guess I was wondering what people would come up with. There used to be all sorts of unique cars like Pulsar GTI-R's and Suzuki Cappuccinos or older peaguots but everything these days is so boring. I'm after an enthusiast type car with a sense of style personally.

      • +4

        I'm after an enthusiast type car with a sense of style personally.

        This car is very stylish. It's even got a little holder for someone to put a single rose/sunflower inside next to the steering wheel.

      • What about a GT Cruiser! Get the wood panel and flame decal kit and you'll have ALL the personality.

        • +1

          PT cruiser?

          All personality, no street cred.

          • +1

            @Euphemistic: Skip the PT and go straight to the Plymouth (Chrysler) Prowler.
            Has to be Purple or Yellow though, the silver and other colours didn't look great.

            • @91rs: Are there any prowlers in Aus? Don’t think I’ve ever seen one.

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